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Margaret R Caird and the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

July 26, 2021

Margaret R Caird was an artist born in Edinburgh in 1896. She was brought up in the city and lived and worked there until the late 1930’s. In the late 1920’s she was commissioned by publishers Wm. Collins to illustrate Edward FitzGerald’s Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Her work on the poem was published by Collins in many different editions, probably produced from 1930 onwards. She died in Eastbourne in 1961.

M R Caird: Title page small version

Most of the above is new information which we owe to research on Caird by the indefatigable Bob Forrest. The volumes containing her work on the Rubaiyat are quite widely available but most of us have been unable to date them with any degree of accuracy. Bob has now attempted to put the different editions in an approximate order of publication with a much clearer idea of their publication dates based on the inscriptions in many of them, and other relevant advertising material.

Bob’s research results are set out in full in an article on his website: see http://www.bobforrestweb.co.uk/The_Rubaiyat/N_and_Q/M_R_Caird/M_R_Caird.htm. The article gives full details of all the known editions of Caird’s Rubaiyat, with extensive examples of the covers and contents of the books and her illustrations. There are also details of other work by her and information about her life and family. It is a fascinating read both for people, like ourselves, who have struggled with the dating of Rubaiyat editions, and for those interested in the practical history of Rubaiyat publication. We all owe Bob many thanks for sharing this research with us.

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